February 18, 1936 (18th Parliament, 1st Session)


Gerald Grattan McGeer



There was not any desire on my part to go into heroics. I wanted to give the committee some facts on the situation with regard to trade development. One feature to which I did not refer at all but which the minister might look into, might induce him, instead of decreasing the subsidy, substantially to increase it to the benefit of the people of Canada. We know that as a result of competition on the Asiatic coast much of the work of repairing and improving and reestablishing ships is done on the docks on the other side of the Pacific. Much of the employment that is given on the ships is governed by the same conditions. I feel that the time is coming when we should be prepared to recognize the necessity of developing a Canadian merchant marine service that will permit us as a nation to help the British empire to enjoy during the future the same kind of leadership in the Pacific theatre of trade that the British empire has enjoyed in the Atlantic during the last 200 years. We have in Vancouver a port that is not only competing with every other port on the Pacific ocean, but definitely competing with the port of Seattle; and if the minister would take a trip along the Pacific coast, as I have done recently, look at what the United States government is doing in Honolulu, in San Diego, in San Pedro, in San Francisco and in Puget sound at Bremerton, which is part of the port of Seattle, and note what is being done in the establishment of a naval and airplane base in Alaska, he would find that although Vancouver enjoys the unique position of being the largest grain shipping port in the world, it is not securing anything

Supply-Trade-Mail Subsidies
like the measures of assistance that ports of the United States competing with Vancouver, and ports in China and Japan and Australia and New Zealand are now securing. If I spoke in a way that could place my utterances in the realm of heroics beyond the constitutional capacity of the minister, may I say to him that I am only beginning, and if I have worried him to-night he is going to have a rather bad time in the future.

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